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He hated making a fuss. He thought it would be more fun to mend the buoys himself. So with his two sons he carefully measured the faulty places, got the necessary sheet iron and painted it, and spent many happy evenings doing the government's job for them. In the end someone happened to mention to officials in the Marine Office that they seemed to be having a lot of trouble with the buoys in the harbour. They were alarmed and sent a small steamer out to see if some professional wrecker was at work.

The serious Oxford scholars of that time were mainly engaged in exact textual studies like those of Bywater, A. C. Clark and T. W. Allen; the rest were largely occupied in teaching their pupils to put conventional English verse into more -15- conventional Greek iambics or Latin elegiacs. Murray was no enemy to either sort of scholarship; he was himself an ingenious and subtle (sometimes over-subtle) textual critic, and also a master in the traditional English art of 'composition'. But his instinct told him that neither of these things was enough if the knowledge and love of Greek was to survive in the new and unfriendly climate of the twentieth century.

The immediate impression made by Murray's personality was one of gentleness, serenity, effortless control and perfect balance. ) Whether his serenity was the gift of nature or the reward of self-discipline is -17- open to doubt. Shaw, who had known a younger Murray, described 'Adolphus Cusins' as 'a most implacable, determined, tenacious, intolerant person who by mere force of character presents himself as -- and indeed actually is -- considerate, gentle, explanatory, even mild and apologetic, capable possibly of murder, but not of cruelty or coarseness'; and there is perhaps a truth behind the exaggeration.

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An unfinished autobiography by Gilbert Murray


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Categories: Mysticism